Amarillo family wants medical cannabis for son with Crohn's disease

Amarillo family wants medical cannabis for son with Crohn's disease (Photo by Holly Hayes).

At 13 years old, Andrew Hayes weighs just 70 lbs. His mother says he has good and bad days, but his chronic illness has not improved overall.

Andrew was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about four years ago. He has missed three years of school and his mother says he has also missed out on having a normal 13-year-old life.

"Crohn's disease is an irritable bowel disease that attacks the immune system and the symptoms include severe diarrhea, extreme fatigue, weight loss," said Holly Hayes, Andrew's mother.

Holly says the symptoms of Crohn's diseas go on. In the last four years, Andrew has taken different pills and prescription medicines that give him side affects that make his illness worse.

Holly says it is a financial burden as well. She lost her job caring for him as a single mother.

"About three years ago I decided to start researching the benefits of medical marijuana and for Crohn's disease, there are numerous benefits," said Holly.

She believes medicinal cannabis would help her son, but it is not legal in Texas.

"This Compassionate Use Act passed at the last session, but that, which isn't even in effect yet, only allows the use of high CBD, low THC oil for only one specific condition, Epilepsy and only after you've gone through every kind of other treatment and it hasn't worked," said Ryan Brown, Amarillo Attorney.

The Compassionate Use Act does not apply to Andrew.

"There are a lot of people leaving because they don't want the government telling them what kind of medicine to give their children," said Brown.

Brown says studies show there are several conditions that can improve with cannabis use.

"It is a horrible feeling as a parent not being able to help your child and wanting to be able to legally access a medicine that you feel could completely change his life and thousands of other lives," said Holly.

"The Hayes should be free to use that for Andrew," said Brown. "I mean they should be able to choose what medicine will work for him and he should be able to have a decent life. He shouldn't be forced to not eat, to not live the normal life of a kid, just because he lives in Texas. That's not good government to me. To me government should not be able to tell you what medicine you can take."

Holly says she wants everyone to know that medicinal cannabis is not smoked, but administered in the form of oil.

She says she never thought as a parent she would be advocating for medical marijuana, but just wants the best for her son.

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